The Secret To Swimming Faster? Do Exactly What You Were Always Told Not To and Spread Your Fingers


It may be hard to swallow for amateur swimmers, but keeping your fingers firmly together to create an oar-style effect is not the best technique.

Instead, counter-intuitive as it seems, keeping the fingers slightly apart like a fork apparently makes a swimmer faster.

A study claims that an ‘invisible web’ of water is created by spread fingers, allowing swimmers to propel themselves with more force – and that the technique is already used by the professionals.

‘It is a counter-intuitive idea, the fact that you should paddle with a fork, not with an oar,’ said researcher Adrian Bejan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

The reason is that when a solid object moves through a fluid, the layer of fluid that touches the surface ‘sticks’ and gets dragged along with the object.

When swimmers spread their fingers just right, each individual digit forms its own layer.

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